This year’s MWC Barcelona mobile communications trade show heralded the maturation of technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), 5G network technology and telco APIs, according to a GlobalData expert.

Speaking on a new episode of the company’s Thematic Intelligence podcast, David George, director of services for GlobalData’s Thematic Research team, said that there was “a bit of déjà vu” about the event, which ran from 26 to 29 February, due to the reappearance of various emerging technologies.

“I think in a lot of areas there was a genuine question of ‘what’s actually changed? Have we seen any advancement, and, if not, why not?’,” George commented.

He added that the issue had been acknowledged in a session by Accenture CEO Julie Sweet, suggesting that the main technologies being touted, like AI and 5G, were not really new and had been talked about for some years. This, George noted, was perhaps down to vendors having been caught up in hype and debuting technologies “when they were just not ready.”

 “AI, as you might expect, was omnipresent …” George said. “It’s almost like one of the glues now that’s allowing vendors to deliver some of these complex solutions, often across multiple platforms, but also then helping corporates to adopt these technologies and make use of them and interpret the data that they provide.”

Touching on the current rolling out of technologies that is occurring, he added: “There was this acknowledgement that, actually, perhaps the industry had just been too early on the whole 5G thing and the whole promise of automation, and after a lot of despondency and disappointment that is now happening and we are beginning to see real-world deployments …

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“This deployment mode is facilitated by the fact that things are ready. The role of networks, for example – you can use 4G but for a lot of the real promise of automation, the lower latencies that allow the more advance processes and applications to deploy, 5G is kind of coming of age – particularly 5G standalone networks.”